E21: Presentivism in the Eighteenth-Century Studies Classroom

deadline for submissions: 
December 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Cynthia Richards/ ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830
contact email: 

E21: Presentivism in the Eighteenth-Century Studies Classroom

In its manifesto, the V21 Collective asserts that “Victorian Studies has fallen prey to positivist historicism: a mode of inquiry that aims to do little more than exhaustively describe, preserve, and display the past” and advocates for “a new openness to presentism: an awareness that our interest in the period is motivated by certain features of our own moment.” At the 2018 ASECS, the same question was asked of eighteenth-century studies: as a discipline, have we “fallen prey to positivist historicism,” and would it benefit us to be open to presentism? Do we need our own V21, or E21?

Arguably, in the classroom, eighteenth-century studies, and particularly the study of works by and about eighteenth-century women, has always been open to presentism. The subject matter demands it though we have done little to theorize or even openly acknowledge these strategies. Not all forms of presentism are “equally valuable,” either, as the V21 manifesto goes on to note: “Presentism is not a sin, but nor are all forms of presentism equally valuable. The variations of and alternatives to presentism as such have not yet been adequately described or theorized.” ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830 invites short form essays (2000-3000 words) which address presentivism in the classroom, in all its forms, and which reflect descriptively and/or theoretically on its value, building upon the questions raised by the V21 collective.

ABO Teaching Forums create a venue for shorter, peer-reviewed essays that can respond more quickly yet rigorously to pressing issues in the classroom and replicate in written form the give and take of roundtable discussions. These teaching forums acknowledge that not all pedagogical scholarship must look the same, and that length or format can vary to meet need. Forums may include three to six essays in conversation with one another. Essays will be peer-reviewed and those appearing as part of the forum may be edited to highlight dialogue with others in the collection. Supplementary teaching materials and lesson are encouraged. See the Spring 2017 issue for an example of a teaching forum: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/abo/vol7/iss1/

For questions about the teaching forum format and/or about possible submissions, please contact Cynthia Richards, pedagogy editor, at crichards@wittenberg.edu. Informal queries are welcome.

Proposals for individual submissions or for a collection of interconnected essays are due by December 15, 2018.